The most sustainable source of motivation for entrepreneurs is...
On March 15th I noticed an unusual spike in traffic on the Tribute website. I didn’t think anything of it. The next day, traffic doubled again. Then it hit me, quarantine measures had just gone into effect in many states and I realized that people won’t be able to gather and celebrate with their friends, family and co-workers. Millions of birthdays, weddings and graduations disrupted.
We started @tribute six years ago because we believed that helping friends to share their appreciation with one another is one of the simplest and most effective things we can do to foster deep, meaningful connection in the world.
We decided to make our basic Tribute service free. From $25 to $0. We thought we were sacrificing profit to be helpful in a time of need. We couldn’t have expected what happened next.
In April, May and June…we delivered more than 30,000 Tribute videos for people. (30x what we did in that period last year). We sent our one millionth video through the Tribute platform.
For the first time in our six year history, we became a highly profitable, growth company.
We have two exciting products in the pipeline that are going to take Tribute to a completely new level. A new vision for how people will give gifts and connect in the digital age. It feels like we’re just getting started.
For all the people who’ve supported us along the way, thank you.
One of the real reasons I wanted to write this is to peel back the curtain and share the reality of running a business.
The past two years have been hard.
In 2018, My Co-Founder and I realized that we weren’t making enough money to pay us the salaries we needed to raise our young families and run the company full-time.
We had hard conversations. Do we keep running the company in our free time, for nearly no money…or do we let the thing sunset?
At the end of the day, we loved this company, liked working with each other and we still believed we had something left to build. We were committed to keeping it going slowly, rather than not at all.
If we didn’t believe in the impact that Tribute could have, the company wouldn’t be alive for this moment. This whole experience has reaffirmed something that I’ve believed for a long time.
Purpose is the most sustainable source of motivation that we have as entrepreneurs.
Most companies will not be overnight successes. If you don’t have some deeper reason to carry on and fight through the hard times…you probably won’t.
When we are connected to the service of something greater than ourselves, we gain the capacity to endure struggle and overcome challenges in a way that we never thought possible.
Find the thing that you can’t not do and give yourself to it. Not for the fame, or the fortune, but just because you have to.
If you don’t have that thing yet, keep asking questions. What really matters to me? How do I want to contribute and help people? How can I help other people who are struggling in the ways that I once did?
“love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” — Rilke